August Photo Contests Winners

Nightlife of Chinese entertainment industry, Danish sixth-graders traveling to a camp, a story of saving giant pandas and other winning photo projects awarded in August.

In Bird in Flight’s new section we select the best photographs and projects distinguished by world-class photo contests each month.

Pandas Gone Wild, Ami Vitale Second place, Sony World Photography Awards

“It’s hard to imagine, but these animals, who roamed the earth for eight million years, were only discovered in the last century. […] With a diet almost entirely composed of the leaves, stems and shoots of various bamboo species, their reliance on bamboo left them vulnerable to any loss of habitat. Found only in central China, the entire species came dangerously close to extinction. But now there is a glimmer of hope, as years of research are finally paying off. In a region where bad environmental news is common, China cracked the code and is on its way to successfully saving its most famous ambassador. The giant panda was recently taken off the endangered species list!”

Levels of Reading, Norbert Fritz First place, Travel Photographer of the Year

“Natural light fills the modern interior of the city library in Stuttgart, Germany.”

Alternative Teaching, Asger Ladefoged Shortlist, Sony World Photography Awards

“What happens, when 28 schoolchildren meet the controversial Danish therapist Carl-Mar Møller and are encouraged to play freely without rules? A sixth grade class from Øster Farimagsgade, a School in Copenhagen has done it twice. They went from the posh part of central Copenhagen to muddy wildness in Kokkedal, Denmark.”

The Power of Nature, Sergio Tapiro Velasco Grand-prix, Travel Photographer of the Year

“A powerful eruption illuminates the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano on December 13, 2015. I was in the town of Comala when I suddenly saw incandescence above the volcano’s crater and started shooting. Seconds later, a powerful volcanic explosion expelled a cloud of ash particles and a massive lightning bolt illuminated most of the dark scene. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.”

Silver Beach Hotel, Adi Bulboacă Shortlist, Sony World Photography Awards

“I had the chance to spend 4 days in the Silver Beach Hotel in November 2016, off the shore of Lake Balaton in Hungary. It’s very much a summer resort, so I found myself out of season while working as a set photographer for a film. Built between 1978 and 1983, the hotel was designed by the brutalist architect Tillai Ernå. All the rooms were obviously vacant, so I was able to snoop around and explore the entire resort to my heart’s content. The place has a retro feel to it, and a soothing patina that I hope I was able to capture. I was fascinated by how stark yet visually inviting this “anachronistic” hotel could be.”

The Twins' Gymnastics Dream, Yuan Peng First place, Sony World Photography Awards

“This series was taken in a sports school in Jining, in Shandong province, China. Liu Bingqing and Liu Yujie are twin sisters, who have liked gymnastics since their childhood. They have studied, trained and grown up here.”

Crocodiles at Rio Tarcoles, Tarun Sinha Third place, Travel Photographer of the Year

“When our guide told us there would be 30 to 40 crocodiles in the river, we thought he was exaggerating. We walked along a narrow bridge and peered over the waist-high railing, where several crocodiles were moving in and out of the water. I wanted to capture the stark contrast between their partially covered bodies in the river versus their enormous size while on full display.”

Behind the Scenes, Sergey Melnitchenko Award Newcomer 2017, Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2017

“Somewhere in China, at the crack of dawn after a long night’s work: sweating transvestites, girls in baths full of beer, drunk performers and an even larger number of drunks among the audience. Battered legs, feet worn down from dancing, fish-net stockings, the harsh light of the dressing room. Scratches and scars, many made invisible by the fact that they are engraved on the soul: all part of daily life in the cheap entertainment business for tourists and locals in China – though it could be anywhere, in fact. To deliver this kind of insight, it is not enough to be up close. Like Sergey Melnitchenko, you need to be part of the whole scene. His pictures reveal his experience as a dancer, grimy and in your face.”

Marble Caves, Clane Gessel Honorable mention, Travel Photographer of the Year

“My dad and I traveled to Patagonia earlier this year, and we wanted to see something off the beaten path. After a 10-hour drive and traversing a long, dirt trail, we finally came upon the marble caves. We chartered a boat to take us closer, and I waited for the perfect light to capture these intricate blue swirls. The extra effort it took to reach the caves was worth it.”

Slash & Burn, Terje Abusdal Winner, Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2017

“In the south-east of Norway, along the border with Sweden, there is a sparsely populated morainal landscape with a great amount of forest. The area is known as ‘Finnskogen’, Forest of the Finns. It was settled by Finns between the end of the 16th and middle of the 17th century. Coming from Savo in central Finland, they slashed and burned the untouched, coniferous forests, to create new agricultural land for cultivating rye. Nowadays, most Forest Finns earn their living as lumberjacks, foresters and farmers. Their original culture and language has largely died out, with only a few traditions, rituals, rune songs and memories of shamanic customs remaining.”

Henningsvær Football Field, Misha De-Stroyev Third place, Travel Photographer of the Year

“In Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the Henningsvær football field is considered one of the most amazing in Europe. This photo was taken during a sailing trip from Tromsø to the Lofoten Archipelago. After a week of cold and rainy weather, the sky finally cleared up enough to fly my drone.”

Anatomy of a Museum, Tommaso Rada Shortlist, Sony World Photography Awards

“Who does not remember visiting, as a child, a Natural History Museum? Before TV shows, tablets and smartphones, the Natural History Museum was the place to discover and learn about all the fauna and flora of the Planet. […] Visiting the Museum was the way to achieve a knowledge regarding natural history and particularly to feed our imagination about our Planet and its transformation. In 2015 the University of Porto started renewing the building that host the Natural History Museum of the city. In order to renovate the space, the exhibition rooms were dismissed and all the animals and objects belonging to the collection were wrapped up to be protected and stored in a new space. During this transitions phase the equilibrium and the magic of the Museum changed: the animals and the objects gained a new and bizarre life. Displaced from their defined position and out from the staged environment created for the display, they became strange objects, weird creatures inhabiting the space abandoned by the guards of the buildings.”

Space & City, Dongni First place, Sony World Photography Awards

“Rules ordering a regular intensive repetition sum up the feeling of the modern city. A variety of urban form and minimalist architecture breaks the old structure, splitting it into triangles, squares and diamond shapes. In a spatial context, when we ignore the aesthetics of the city, ignore the rules and celebrate the deconstruction and reconstruction of the urban space, the space itself gives us more control and adds more joy to the city.”

Interesting Moment, Julius Y. Second place, Travel Photographer of the Year

“A crowd of spectators stands in front of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. As I observed the scene I laughed when I realized that the people in the painting also appear to be curiously watching the visitors. I managed to take two shots before the audience moved away—one is out of focus, but this one was perfect.”

Al Ain, Andrzej Bochenski Honorable mention, Travel Photographer of the Year

“New buildings rise from the desert floor near Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.”

Workship, F. Dilek Uyar First place, Travel Photographer of the Year

“Beams of light filter through a historic building in Konya, Turkey, where a whirling dervish performs an ecstatic dance. The ceremony represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent towards truth and love, and represents the constant revolution of all living things. For example, the Earth itself is in a state of rotation as well as the atoms that make up everything on it.”

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